Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Health

Hospital Waiting Lists

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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318. To ask the Minister for Health the measures that will be taken to address the backlog caused by the cancellation of inpatient and outpatient appointments in the UL Hospitals Group as a result of reductions in scheduled care following the declaration of a major internal incident at University Hospital Limerick on 2 January 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2533/23]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Department of Health and the HSE recognise the vulnerability of scheduled care activity at this time of year when our acute hospitals and healthcare staff are under significant pressure. We are seeing increased ED attendances which means that some cancellations of elective procedures are required, and we recognise the impact this will have on patients.

The Department of Health and the HSE are working together to protect all scheduled care activity as much as possible, and to maintain the recent positive trends in reducing waiting lists and waiting times.

The Department of Health is currently working with the HSE and the NTPF on producing the final report on the 2022 WLAP. This will be informed by the end-December 2022 waiting list data (published 13th January 2023).

In parallel, the Department of Health, HSE and NTPF are engaging to develop the 2023 Waiting List Action Plan (WLAP) that will detail the actions to be progressed in 2023, and this Plan will form the next stage of the multi-annual approach.

€123m funding was allocated to the HSE in Budget 2023 that will be made available on a recurring basis to ensure the reforms deliver sustained reductions in waiting lists and ensure we achieve the strategic Sláintecare maximum wait time targets. An additional €240m once-off funding was also allocated in Budget 2023 for the NTPF and HSE to continue tackling waiting list backlogs next year.

As part of the Winter Planning process hospitals were asked to identify support requirements, including use of private capacity, to support them through the winter period. Private capacity identified was supported on the basis that local arrangements were in place to ensure effective patient flow and transfers. Hospitals and Hospital Groups engage locally with individual Private Hospitals on a daily basis to access additional capacity where available.

One of the new surgical hubs being developed to deliver high volume low complex procedures that have been sanctioned and funded will be located in Limerick. Also the NTPF have approved a cardiology outpatient initiative for the UL Group that will remove 450 patient from the waiting list.


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